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Birchbox Crush: Sara Blakely

When it comes to products that have changed our lingerie drawer, it’s hard to top SPANX. Founder Sara Blakely changed the way women think about control top and single-handedly developed a cure for VPL (visible panty line). Since 2000, the shapewear brand has expanded to include bras and panties, tights and leggings, swimwear, and even a tasteful line for men. Blakely, a one-time fax machine saleswoman and would-be lawyer, is now a mom and makes balancing it all look easy.

Before There Was Spanx

I wanted to be a lawyer growing up but didn’t do well on the LSAT. I worked at Disney World and tried out to be Goofy but was too short, and I used to do stand-up comedy at nights and on the weekends. When I started Spanx I had been working for a company called Danka selling fax machines. I always knew I wanted to be self-employed and envisioned myself as a successful entrepreneur, but I never was sure how I would get there.

The Inspiration

My own butt! I didn’t like the way it looked in my white pants, so I cut the feet out of control top pantyhose, and SPANX was born. My rear view was suddenly smooth, firm, and I was able to wear open-toed shoes, but the hose kept rolling up my legs all night. At that moment, I knew if I could comfortably keep them just below the knee I was onto something that women needed.

Would-Be Makeup Artist

My friends call me a “frustrated beautician.” I was the girl who did everybody’s hair and make-up for prom. If Spanx didn’t exist I would probably own a salon or spa. I’m a product junkie!

Product Must-Haves

I use Armani Silk Foundation, Clé de Peau Under Eye Concealer, and Dr. Brandt’s Pores No More Pore Refiner for my nose because it truly masks pores. I spray Guerlain Terracotta Spray over my face after my makeup for a natural sun-kissed look. Chantecaille or Guerlain bronzers, and Nars Lip Crayons are also musts. I use only Lancôme mascaras — mix Définicils for length with Hypnose for thickness.

Pro Tip

If you can find them, Shu Uemera partial cross eyelash tips are amazing. Put them on the outer edges of eyes with dark-tone Duo eyelash glue for great cat eyes.

If it works…

I use Pond’s Cold Cream to take my makeup off every night and so do my mom and grandmother.

Shopping Inspiration

I love to go to Jeffrey’s boutique in New York and Atlanta for designer pieces and mix them with pieces from fun, inexpensive stores like a thrift store or funky boutique.

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